Thursday, January 02, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 87 (Vol # 7) Dated 02 Jan 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 87 (Vol # 7) Dated 02 Jan 2014

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are going ahead from the second paragraph on page No 658 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated continually)

46.           Then follows the Anupallavi part of the song.  In it without any berating or criticism and without even mentioning the place name in beautiful poetic language, the poet has described the Cauvery River, once again without even mentioning the name of the river.  Cauvery River divides itself in to two, going around a slightly raised island known as Sri Rangam and re-joins a few miles hence.  This is what the poet is describing.
ãmbalpoothasaiya parvatha maduvile – avadaritta
ஆம்பல் பூத்தசைய பருவத மடுவிலே – அவதரித்த   
iran(du) ãrtrunaduvilé (én paLLikondeeraiyã ?)
இரண்(டு) ஆற்றுநடுவிலே (ஏன் பள்ளிகொண்டீரையா ?)

47.          This phrase 'ãmbalpoothasaiya' can be separated in to three words as, 'ãmbal poothu asaiya', meaning Ãmbal flowers having bloomed slightly moving in the wind or with the movement in the water; or 'ãmbal pootha saiya', meaning the Ãmbal flowers having bloomed in the Saiya.  What does this word 'Saiya'mean here?   Cauvery originates in the Sahayadri range of mountains in a place known as Thalaicauvery.  This Sahayadri is Sahyam in Sanskrit and is 'saiyam' or 'saiya' in Tamil, like 'madhyam' is 'maiyam' or 'maiya' in Tamil.  This Sahayadri range of mountains is in the Western Ghats.  It is from here the River Cauvery flows starting from Kodagu through Mysore and enters Tamil Nadu in the Salem District and comes to Thiruchi.  It is here that the river separates into two channels as Cauvery and KoLLidam and the island so formed is Sri Rangam. 

48.          So the one River flowing in two channels is flowing embracing Sri Rangam from both sides and the two channels re-join lower in their flow.  If as per custom the bride places the garland on the bride-grooms shoulders in marriages, here the River Cauvery as the bride, making a Mãlai or garland of her own two hands is seen embracing 'Thirumãlai' – 'திருமாலை', from both sides, as though!  There is a rhyme here between the Tamil word for garland 'Mãlai' and the person being garlanded 'Thirumãlai'!  Further instead of the normal custom of giving the husbands name first and then the wife's name in invitation cards and such things as Mr Sarma and then Mrs Lalitha, here the Presiding Deity of Sri Rangam gets to be called by the lady's name as, 'Cauvery Ranga'!  The River dividing itself as 'Ubaya Cauvery' with Swami making it his Residence cum bed-room, is what is referred by the poet as 'irandu arrtrin naduvile' – 'இரண்(டு) ஆற்று நடுவிலே', meaning 'between two rivers'!

49.          Talking about the origin of Cauvery from Sahayadri Mountains, the poet instead of saying simply that it sprouts from or generates from, since it is a divine emergence, has extolled the incidence of its coming into being as, Avatara!  The moment he used the word Avatara, his mind went to Ranga Natha's Avatara Sri Rama Chandra Murthy, like a homing pigeon. Though he had started singing about Ranganatha, his attachment was always with Sri Rama and the story of Rama.  So, in Pallavi and Anupallavi he had mentioned about the Presiding Deity of Sri Rangam; 'that is enough' he thought and starting from Bala KãNdam he started singing, stringing various incidents in the life of Sri Rama.  The banter of Ninda Stuti started from there onwards. 

50.          Then he says, 'kosikan sol kurittadarko' – 'கோசிகன் சொல் குறித்ததற்கோ?' which has to be explained.  Kosikan is the name of Viswãmitra as he had been born in the Kousika Gothram.  Sri Rama's first Avatara job was done when he accompanied him to the place where he was conducting some Yãga, where on his promptings he had to shoot at and kill a lady Rãkshasi.  A great Maharishi had instructed him to do so.  But still to kill a woman is an unpardonable Pãpam that is a sin as per Sãstrãs.  So, Sri Rama who was an epitome of Dharma hesitated before shooting!  But Viswãmitra told him, "When you have to eradicate anybody who is a great menace to the society, you should not hesitate because that person happens to be a female.  Just propel your missile!" Sri Rama, who was also a personification of the quality of Vinaya and obedience, could not refuse the Maharishi's instructions.

51.          Though he obeyed then, 'he might have suffered a lot in ruminating over his act' and must have been in a quandary thinking often over the issue that what he had done was still a great sin!  When we are afflicted with such double edged embarrassment and predicament, we are likely to have a few drinks or take a sleeping pill and go to sleep, isn't it?  So the poet is asking, 'have you done something like that for having obeyed the orders of Kousika?'  His word 'kurittadu' means that Rama considered or deliberated.  On his words, he also aimed the arrow correctly at the target isn't it?  That is another meaning of the phrase 'sollai kurittadu'. 

52.          The arrow hit the target and in this case it hit the chest of the Rãkshasi, killing her.  So, he asks the next question as to if he is tired due to that effort of immediate action and so possibly had to lie down exhausted, as he asks, 'arakki kulayil ambu terittadarko' – 'அரக்கி குலையில் அம்பு தெரித்ததற்கோ'?  This last word 'terittadarko' means, first to test the tension in the taut string of the bow by tapping on it, if it is sufficient for sending the arrow the distance and then load the arrow and despatch it.  Sri Rama was not over worked by doing so.  He was as fresh as a flower that had just bloomed, while propelling his arrows.  Poet takes liberty in needling him, knowing that his action will be appreciated with a smile by the person being nagged. 

53.          If this is not the reason for his being prostrate in the bed, he is looking at another possible reason – 'easan villai murittadarko' – 'ஈசன் வில்லை முறித்ததற்கோ', meaning that if he is physically drained due to the efforts he had to undertake for the task of breaking the Bow of Easwara known as Shiva Dhanush?  Janaka had made an announcement that whosoever wanted to marry his daughter Sita, had to pick up the huge and heavy Rudra Dhanush and load and propel an arrow from it.  Sri Rama was not immediately keen on a marriage.  When Sri Rama had gone with Vishwãmitra to Mithila to Janaka's palace, on the promptings of Vishwãmitra he had to demonstrate that he could handle the Rudra Dhanush.  In doing so, when he pulled the string the bow broke in two pieces.  So, the poet is asking if that was the reason for his being physically tired. 

54.          The poet continues to wonder, if that is also not the reason for his being worn out then, what else could be the reason?  Could it be due to the confrontation with Parasurama?  So he says, 'parasuraman uram parittadarko' – 'பரசுராமன் உரம் பறித்ததற்கோ'?  Parasurama had vowed to totally eradicate all the generations of Kshatriyas from the root, lock, stock and barrel.  He came to Mithila immediately after the breaking of the Shiv Dhanush, even before the marriage of Rama with Sita could be conducted!  He challenged Sri Rama, "The Shiv Dhanush that you broke was already an ancient relic, ready to fall to pieces.  That is no great achievement.  I have a Vishnu Dhanush that is factory fresh.  Let me see if you can mount an arrow on that.  If you do not take up the challenge, I will sort you out!"

55.          Sri Rama did not find it to be too much of a challenge anyhow.  He loaded an arrow on that bow quite easily.  Further he made decimating and erasing Parasurama's powers and pride, as the object and purpose of his missile and was successful in achieving his aim.  Thus Parasurama's 'Pratigna' of complete and total extinguishment of the clan of Kshatriyas came to a grinding halt.  That earlier Avatara of Vishnu Parasurama lost all his powers to this later Avatara of Vishnu Sri Rama and put a full stop to his vengeful escapade.  That snatching of all his powers by Sri Rama is what is referred as 'parasuraman uram parittadu' in the song.  When your powers are expended, you may get tired.  But in the case of Sri Rama, the powers have only been reinforced!  So why should he go and lie down?  When we eat also you feel sleepy isn't it?  Then when we over eat, in digesting it we do feel extremely tired don't we?  Sri Rama was already mighty powerful.  With that the powers of another Avatara has also been added.  Thus this overloading of power could have led to a bit of brake down isn't it?  So, the poet is asking, 'if he has gone to sleep because of the over load'?

56.          Then the poet progresses with the story of Rama and has one more question.  'If none of these reason are correct, may be it was because you had to walk miles with the absolutely faultless Sita Devi, when you were sent to live in the forest for 14 years, is it that the reason for your tiredness?'  The words of the song are,
'mãsilãda mithilesan peNNudan vazhi nadanda iLaippo' – 'மாசிலாத மிதிலேசன் பெண்ணுடன் வழி நடந்த இளைப்போ?'  The word 'iLaippu' in Tamil means both slimming as well as getting worn out.  To get over that we take some rest.

57.          Further the poet asks about things that happened in the forest, 'doosilãda guhan odaththile gangait turai kadanda iLaippo' – 'தூசிலாத குஹன் ஓடத்திலே கங்கைத் துறை கடந்த இளைப்போ'?  Though Guha was a boatman and a bit of a country brute, he may seem dirty but, he was spotlessly clean in his behaviour, attitude and élan.  Crossing the Ganges on the boat with Sita and Lakshmana; Guha rowing and steering the boat, with monotonous sounds of the paddles hitting the water surface, with the sounds of the waves and a cool breeze blowing; the whole atmosphere is likely to make you drowsy!

58.          Then the poet asks, 'meesaramãm chitra koota sigarathin misai kidanta iLaippo' – 'மீசரமாம் சித்ரகூட சிகரத்தின்மிசை கிடந்த இளைப்போ'?  The word 'meesaram' means steep and very tall.  During their sojourn in the forest the threesome of Sri Rama with Sita and Lakshmana, had climbed the very tall and steep Chitra Koota Hills, so-named for their scenic splendour and artful surroundings.  After the arduous climb you had to lie down and rest isn't it?  Is it that sleep, continuing till now?  No.  No.   After that you had run after Mãreesan who had assumed the disguise of a deer by his magical powers.  Sita expressed a wish on which you tried to catch the deer.  But the animal made you run after it very far so naturally you must have been utterly exhausted, says the poet 'kãsini mel maareesan odiya gati todarnta iLaippo' – 'காசினி மேல் மாரீசன் ஓடிய கதிதொடர்ந்த இளைப்போ'?  As it is a deer is a fast runner and is not easy to catch.  In fact after trying to catch it, Sri Rama could only kill it with an arrow.  After this the questions also come in staccato style fast and furious and the pace of the song picks up speed compared to the lazy and languishing foray across the Ganges River!

(To be continued)




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